Thursday, December 15, 2005

Gulf Coast Sunrise


We were on the Gulf Coast of Texas. I’m not really sure where. I was there to work and sleep. Work and sleep. Those had been the key words of my life for too long up until then. I had been treating my brain a lot like it was a company computer, abusing it unconsciously as most people do their company machines. I was using it endlessly without regard to shutting it down once in while for upgrading or scanning my registry. I was always logged on. I was always processing. I didn’t know the first thing about having a life or taking vacation. I had made the mistake of becoming my job from the inside out. I guess you could say I was a human machine.

At six foot tall with blonde hair and blue eyes, I’m not bad looking, that didn’t matter, it was still ugly to see. Psychologists say everyone has key references that define their life. Mine were my two-seater car, my expensive head-phones, and my computer—oh, and my family in a “Cats-in-the-Cradle” way. Being a family of introverts, none of us saw very much wrong with that, we all liked our own space. We still do. We didn’t know that we might have a chance at liking each other too.

So there I was with a plan of working and sleeping on the Gulf Coast of Texas. My friend Nancy had set it all up and invited me. She knew I was a package deal. Me and my computer, but that she might be able to push some time to talk in-between—that I couldn’t ignore her. I wasn’t a monster, just a little addicted to work that was all. Then the power went out at the cabin where we were staying. The option of working died out with my second battery.

Nancy opened a second bottle of wine, Ronco Cucco, a very nice white—one of my favorites—and she started making stuffed artichokes, a food she knew had prompted many great conversations between us over the years. I thought again how great it is to have a close friend who’s a gourmet cook. Who knows what we talked about? We were like a couple of guys. We discussed finance, and camping, and whether cave people really were afraid of the stars. No chick flick conversation here. Nancy and I don’t really like needy people and we don’t qualify for the title.

At around five in the morning, she decided to go to bed with her headphones. She’s addicted to audio books. I decided to spend some time outside communing with the sky and feeling the space of a Texas night. I have a real taste for that time of night when the sky tricks you into thinking morning’s further off than it really is—that darkest-before-dawn time. It makes me feel like I can be anyone, that I have no place to be and no rules to follow. It’s the safest kind of dangerous.

I took my sweater and walked out the door. I picked my way down the trail out to the coast. It took a while. I’m no sure-footed hiker, even in daylight. But I was rewarded when I arrived with a seat on the pier all to myself. I leaned back on a post watching the water while the water watched me. In tiny waves I began to remember what it was like to enjoy being part of a world that wasn’t filled with things made by people, where the things that you touched seemed to touch back with an echo of life. The sweet, slow sound of the water stilled my mind and distilled my priorities. My heart was being held in my father’s hands for safekeeping.

The tiniest glimpse of gold made itself known on the black, black horizon. It wasn’t a sunrise like any I’d ever seen before or heard tell of since. It was as if the sun knew I was there and had come to greet me, without its entourage—a secret meeting for a self-conscious, first-timer at taking even a five-minute vacation. It showed me the path to visit whenever I wanted. I could just go to a sunrise or anywhere, anytime I wanted.

Until that morning, I thought the sun was an intimate object. Now I know it’s an inspiration, a location, and an incredible wonder.

I stayed for a while until the sun shared itself with the rest of the world. Then I used my hands to push myself up. I found my way back to the cabin just in time for a gourmet breakfast and a day totally enjoying a chance to spend time with a friend. It wasn’t until she put her headphones on to go to bed that I realized I hadn’t slept the night before.

It didn’t matter.

I pulled on my sweater and walked out the door. I found my way down the trail out to the coast again. I breathed in that time of night when the sky tricks you into thinking morning’s further off than it really is. I found my special spot on the pier, and wrapped myself up in that darkest-before-dawn time. I was everyone who had ever been or who would be as I looked at the stars that second night. I had come back to the world, here where black water met black sky. My work and worries could wait.

I had a date alone with an incredible wonder.
—me strauss Letting me be

12 comments:

mergrl said...

excellent, Liz, I love going along with you for these memories.

I had come back to the world, here where black water met black sky. My work and worries could wait.

I had a date alone with an incredible wonder


that is exactly what I am hoping to do in two weeks when I find myself answering my call of the ocean.

thank you for your beautiful words my friend (hugs)

ME Strauss said...

Hello mergrl,
Good to see you again. Hope this means you're feeling better.

I love having you come along with me.
smiles,
Liz

mergrl said...

I am thank you, just needed to let some feelings out for a walk and deal with them :0) now they are in there place as they should be :0)

always happy to tag along, its always an amazing trip :0)

ME Strauss said...

Smile,
My feelings need airing out every now and then too. I think today was one of those days. I had to open my ears and let the air blow through my head for a while.
hugs,
Liz

jac said...

It is a wonderful pic.
Is there a fog on ??
Drifted in from Tanda.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Joe,
Good to see you.
A littl fog, yes.
Thank you for being here with us.
Liz

Betty said...

Wow. I've heard that the most spiritual time of day is dawn. Now I'm totally convinced.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Betty,
I've not been a morning person until recently. I like morning, when I sneak up on it from the back side the best. But I'd have to agree. I sure to seem to find the connection to creation at that time.
smiles,
Liz

dog1net said...

Since I've been stopping by, I always know you'll have something new and interesting for me to try. Tonight, though, you have surprised me with this incredibly well written essay that works on many levels. Consistency of voice, vivid imagery, specific details, you carry the reader from start to finish in an alchemy of words that delight and inspire.
“We were like a couple of guys. We discussed finance, and camping, and whether cave people really were afraid of the stars. No chick flick conversation here.”
You touch on the sublime:
“The tiniest glimpse of gold made itself known on the black, black horizon. It wasn’t a sunrise like any I’d ever seen before or heard tell of since. It was as if the sun knew I was there and had come to greet me, without its entourage—a secret meeting for a self-conscious, first-timer at taking even a five-minute vacation. It showed me the path to visit whenever I wanted. I could just go to a sunrise or anywhere, anytime I wanted.”
Nice, very nice, and well done. Your ending this time, instead of guessing or hinting that you may have said all you have needed to say, is a train coming to a full stop. The journey you take us on comes to a finish, and we are left with an experience as difinitive of the sunrise you write about, the promise of finding our way to “breath in that time of night when the sky tricks you into thinking morning’s further off than it really is.”
Scot

ME Strauss said...

Thank you, Scot,
How wonderful of you to take the time to look so closely at something that I wrote and tell me so much about it.
I cherish that. You keep me writing.
Liz

Bonita said...

I just happened by, and caught your sunset. Time to call it a night - and your image is with me. Ah, the power of a good photo. Thanks.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Bonita,
You're welcome.
Sweete dreamns
Liz